Face Masks - what price a Banding Recovery?

Jack E

Well-Known Member
From the 'Daily Telegraph', today, explaining why the mandatory wearing of face masks is expanding relentlessly, when the blunt truth is that almost all those who are critically vulnerable to the disease have already died:
"Mr Hancock suggested that making face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets from July 24 was primarily for economic reasons, saying the British Retail Consortium had said they made shoppers 'more confident about returning' . . . "

So, having spent months urging the media on to scare the living daylights out of as many people as possible, and to make people believe that calling an ambulance because you were dangerously ill was tantamount to ensuring that the NHS would be overwhelmed, with people dying in droves lying in hospital corridors, the politicians have finally woken up to the fact that it will take a long time before millions of people will want to go into a public space, even when there's no reason why they shouldn't. Rocket science, eh?

As it turned out, most hospitals were running at 50% capacity, the Nightingale Hospitals counted their patients in a few dozens, and one never opened at all because there was no need for it at all. Meantime, the backlog of vital operations, treatments and diagnostic scans, which the boss of the NHS ordered to be cancelled indefinitely, has built up to over 600,000 and the NHS bosses expect it to run into millions this winter - though it is somewhat reduced by the number of people who have already died of things like cancer, because their treatment was stopped. Did somebody say "Stay Inside. Protect the NHS. Save Lives"?

The latest I've heard from Hancock is that he's considering extending compulsory face masks into all public spaces, and that face masks may be with us until next year. So if I have to wear a mask for the foreseeable future in air-conditioned and well ventilated places like the Victoria and Albert, Science, and Natural History museums - which have cut their capacity limits by 80% - how do you rate my chances of being able to even rehearse with a band again before I drop dead of old age?

But the ones I feel gutted about, and furious about, are the youngsters, whose education has been trashed (for many of them, at the crucial stage of preparing for 'O' Levels, 'A' Levels, and final degree exams) - and whose job prospects have been absolutely hammered. There are currently over 9 million people on furlough; any bets on how many of them will get a P.45 instead of a letter calling them back to work, when the furlough scheme is drastically reduced next month? Let alone when it ends in October. So what are the chances for youngsters hoping to start work next year, let alone this year?

Yet, according to evidence which was in the public domain back in March, 80% of youngsters who pick up the Covid-19 bug develop no symptoms at all - and they stand more chance of being struck by lightning than dying from it. If this utterly spineless shambles of a government has the widespread support they claim for the decisions they've made, I can only say "Not in MY name."

Frankly, the way I feel about the world at the moment, the sooner I'm out of it, the better. Just sick to death of the whole damn thing.

Jack
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
I gain the impression that the Government has both mishandled some of this crisis and managed to get some decisions correct though whether that was by good planning or happy chance one will never know. Could someone (not just anyone) else have done better? Well yes many someone’s out there could have managed things better, but I don’t believe that any of our other political leaders would have made substantially better decisions than those taken by the politicians currently in power - IMHO politicians typically muddle through to some ‘solution’ and only a fraction are worthy of the trust we place in them.

I’ve always believed that the Government was between a rock and a hard place in the management of this crisis. I also believe that it’s focus on ‘saving the NHS’ was too narrow. Yes, it’s a simple and effective message - to be fair nothing else might have worked - but it failed to take account of wider issues. The Government eventually slammed the brakes on without properly evaluating the broader effect of that and the (National CV19) cure given might well be worse than the disease. With a collapsed economy - it will surely crumble - indirect deaths will rise and social services will be flooded by needs for which they have nether staff nor budget to cope with. The NHS will have a massive backlog in which people will die for want treatment or will have their life quality very much reduced. This is very much a state of affairs that need never have been the case or, at least, not as bad a case.

The disruption of education has been very much devastating and what can be sensibly done about it is not obvious to me. Young people do not seem to be affected by the disease but they do carry it back into their families and as a consequence older adults (possibly carers and ‘bread winners’ ) die. Moving children to and from school also opens up transmission paths for the virus and, of course, some teachers aren’t in perfect health or have family unit members who are vulnerable. I have a well qualified friend who worked in the NHS for decades and has some health issues, she was quite clear about her need for shielding (“if I get this bug I will die”). How viable it would have been to keep the Universities open I do not know but again some of the staff and their close family members would have vulnerabilities. Education is important but the economy even more so, given that stark choice the correct one (IMHO) was made.

How could things have been better? Well recognising and explaining the broader economic consequences of actions would have been a jolly good start as would dedicating some Hospitals to CV19 whilst trying to run others as normally as possible. At one time we used to have things called Isolation Hospitals and we have managed contagious diseases in the past, have we lost all of that knowledge? If so how shameful is that! Looking at contagion routes rather than blanket bans would have been better though I accept that the two do overlap. I feel sure that more people could have been in economic activity than were, just a bit more thought was needed. The furlough scheme has been wonderful for some but the cost to the Treasury has been massive and we’ll all pay a heavy price for that political action. Social distancing has been a big issue and in my personal life I’m fairly strict about it, but really it is all about limiting and managing contagion routes. Unfortunately, as we can see from mass gatherings here and in the USA, some folk just don’t ‘get’ the importance of contagion route management. As they say: ‘it ain’t rocket science’.
 
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GER

Active Member
Not sure why these posts are on this forum, I thought the purpose of this forum was to promote and discuss banding issues.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Not sure why these posts are on this forum, I thought the purpose of this forum was to promote and discuss banding issues.
Fair point although, I’m just glad to see someone using the forum (keeps the posts coming Jack). Perhaps a Mod will move the thread to the Bar Room and Off Topic Chat.

Edit. This forum does promote and discuss Banding issues. Without wishing to appear or to be negative in any way could I encourage you to post more frequently and to start threads of your own. Let’s keep the forum active and improve its health by supporting it with fresh content.
 
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John Brooks

Well-Known Member
Well Jack, thanks for your post which, in all honesty I just skimmed over. I live in Canada and the Government here have made a bunch of mistakes as well as getting many things right. Mostly it appears they were lucky when they got things right and unlucky when wrong; they simply did the best they could. I pretty well stopped reading all the jargon weeks ago because it became apparent that people were being influenced by comments made by those with an opinion but not the science to back it up. There's more crap out there than fact. Banding stopped but so did life as we knew it and I doubt that "life" will ever return to the pre-COVID era. I'm almost 75 years old so very much part of the "at risk" cohort. So, as for wearing masks, I wear one when in places I might not be able to physically distance from others. In some places near my home it has become mandatory but not all. Still I choose to wear one although it might do nothing, BUT it might help me or someone else....it makes me feel better and I don't need legislation for that......just stating my opinion. I know I don't agree with many others and don't expect everyone to agree with me (but hopefully they can disagree politely.
 

julian

Active Member
From the 'Daily Telegraph', today, explaining why the mandatory wearing of face masks is expanding relentlessly, when the blunt truth is that almost all those who are critically vulnerable to the disease have already died:
"Mr Hancock suggested that making face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets from July 24 was primarily for economic reasons, saying the British Retail Consortium had said they made shoppers 'more confident about returning' . . . "

So, having spent months urging the media on to scare the living daylights out of as many people as possible, and to make people believe that calling an ambulance because you were dangerously ill was tantamount to ensuring that the NHS would be overwhelmed, with people dying in droves lying in hospital corridors, the politicians have finally woken up to the fact that it will take a long time before millions of people will want to go into a public space, even when there's no reason why they shouldn't. Rocket science, eh?

As it turned out, most hospitals were running at 50% capacity, the Nightingale Hospitals counted their patients in a few dozens, and one never opened at all because there was no need for it at all. Meantime, the backlog of vital operations, treatments and diagnostic scans, which the boss of the NHS ordered to be cancelled indefinitely, has built up to over 600,000 and the NHS bosses expect it to run into millions this winter - though it is somewhat reduced by the number of people who have already died of things like cancer, because their treatment was stopped. Did somebody say "Stay Inside. Protect the NHS. Save Lives"?

The latest I've heard from Hancock is that he's considering extending compulsory face masks into all public spaces, and that face masks may be with us until next year. So if I have to wear a mask for the foreseeable future in air-conditioned and well ventilated places like the Victoria and Albert, Science, and Natural History museums - which have cut their capacity limits by 80% - how do you rate my chances of being able to even rehearse with a band again before I drop dead of old age?

But the ones I feel gutted about, and furious about, are the youngsters, whose education has been trashed (for many of them, at the crucial stage of preparing for 'O' Levels, 'A' Levels, and final degree exams) - and whose job prospects have been absolutely hammered. There are currently over 9 million people on furlough; any bets on how many of them will get a P.45 instead of a letter calling them back to work, when the furlough scheme is drastically reduced next month? Let alone when it ends in October. So what are the chances for youngsters hoping to start work next year, let alone this year?

Yet, according to evidence which was in the public domain back in March, 80% of youngsters who pick up the Covid-19 bug develop no symptoms at all - and they stand more chance of being struck by lightning than dying from it. If this utterly spineless shambles of a government has the widespread support they claim for the decisions they've made, I can only say "Not in MY name."

Frankly, the way I feel about the world at the moment, the sooner I'm out of it, the better. Just sick to death of the whole damn thing.

Jack
'the blunt truth is that almost all those who are critically vulnerable to the disease have already died' - I don't believe this is a forum for political argument, but to think the risk to peoples health has gone away is naive at best and plain stupid at worst. There are a huge number of people that are still shielding and being extremely cautious that if were exposed to this virus would undoubtedly die. If a different political party were in charge would it make them better qualified to manage this crisis? - Who knows, but this virus is still with us for now at least.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
'the blunt truth is that almost all those who are critically vulnerable to the disease have already died' - I don't believe this is a forum for political argument, but to think the risk to peoples health has gone away is naive at best and plain stupid at worst. There are a huge number of people that are still shielding and being extremely cautious that if were exposed to this virus would undoubtedly die. If a different political party were in charge would it make them better qualified to manage this crisis? - Who knows, but this virus is still with us for now at least.
Ain’t that the truth. I have many friends who are shielding now and they know (as best anyone can) that all those that are critically vulnerable have not already died. CV19 has been a crisis but the Government is, I very much suspect, aware that in trying to manage a public health crisis they have blundered into a somewhat large economic one.
 

julian

Active Member
Ain’t that the truth. I have many friends who are shielding now and they know (as best anyone can) that all those that are critically vulnerable have not already died. CV19 has been a crisis but the Government is, I very much suspect, aware that in trying to manage a public health crisis they have blundered into a somewhat large economic one.
So here's the thing. Regardless of our political beliefs this dreadful disease is not over and we have to be sensible. I'm not shielding, indeed my job means that I am a link for people who are. I've played in bands for over 45 years from 4th section to championship section and am missing it like mad, but not as much as I would miss my friends and family if they died from it.
 

dennis78

New Member
I believe there’s a world power that’s waited longer than they feel need to and is now ramping up efforts to even further enslave us all.
Masks are BS! Muzzle would be a better word.
It’s definitely going to be a “new world order”
I’ve not worn a mask. I’ve not missed a day of my job as a construction worker. I’ve not ramped up my hygiene efforts. And I and all those around me seem quite healthy.
Sorry for the rant fellows but I needed it to get out.
Lots of censorship going on in the states right now
 

GordonH

Active Member
Brass instruments are viewed as especially risky. Previous research disputes that e.g. The air leaving a cornet bell is travelling at 0.2mph and we don't circulate any more air than a person in the audience. However, there is already a hysteria about hearing loss from brass players and I know one amateur orchestra that has the brass section behind screens, even though they only do things like Beethoven and Brahms. I was speaking to a professional orchestral player who is pessimistic about his orchestra retaining a brass section on a regular basis. It's been a drip drop thing over many years and ultimately the string section outvote us. The only hint of light is the issue of the woodwind section. Who must, by the same non science, be just as risky.

But will an audience want to sit in a hall listening to a brass band?
Its going to be an audience decision really.
 
Life is not without risk. Throwing caution to the wind by ignoring the fact that masks reduce (not prevent) transmission of a disease that can be remarkably savage and deadly in spite of predicted vulnerability of classes of people is not smart. This disease will not go away; it's here to stay. We hope and expect that ways will be developed to mitigate and manage its destruction as has been done with influenza, AIDS, Bubonic plague, Polio, and the various extant coronaviruses, to name a few. When we get back together (as at some point we will), there will be initial trepidation, but we'll adjust. Life and health are not guaranteed; there's an expiration date on every life; we just don't know in advance what that date is. Until then, let's make the most of what we have while we have it, and also be considerate of others while we're at it.
 

GordonH

Active Member
I haven't worn a mask as I have not had to use public transport or go into a shop, but with regards to brass bands: 1 in 4000 people local to me have the virus so if I met 20 people a day it would be 200 days before I met anyone who had it. I wouldn't attend a brass band rehearsal today, but come September or October, if we remain on this trajectory then the risk would be very low. I think one of the things to come out of this is a realisation that people have no concept of how many people die every day under normal conditions. In Scotland its an average of 160. We haven't had anyone die from Covid for the past week or so and hardly anyone in hospital under the age of 70. The risk is therefore minimal.

From a musical perspective, an orchestra does not need a brass section. They have options: bring them in for the last rehearsal, play the parts in using a modelling synthesizer (look it up, its frighteningly good), choose repertoire that doesn't require brass, reassign the brass parts to other instruments (good luck with the transposition).

I think amateur orchestras are going to go for strings only for a while and then last minute brass sections. That's the vibe I am getting. There have ALWAYS been issues in orchestras and this just adds to the hearing loss issue.

Professional orchestras are going to need to find a way of playing in the future that won't cause the string section to sue them again. I suspect they will go for brass only present at concerts. As I said in my previous post I spoke to a senior orchestral professional who told me he was very pessimistic based on what other members of the orchestra were saying. Its not entirely Covid related, the ill-feeling goes back long before this. Its just another drip of the drip drip.

Bands are going to be much more pragmatic I hope.
 

julian

Active Member
I believe there’s a world power that’s waited longer than they feel need to and is now ramping up efforts to even further enslave us all.
Masks are BS! Muzzle would be a better word.
It’s definitely going to be a “new world order”
I’ve not worn a mask. I’ve not missed a day of my job as a construction worker. I’ve not ramped up my hygiene efforts. And I and all those around me seem quite healthy.
Sorry for the rant fellows but I needed it to get out.
Lots of censorship going on in the states right now
Sorry, but how do you know that you're not a carrier and infecting other people? As for the USA look at the mess they're in now with regard to the virus. Even yesterday Trump has had to admit that masks have a part to play. We might not like these measures but without them things would be one heck of a lot worse..........
 

dennis78

New Member
What if we all get it without knowing then pass it to others who then don’t know they have it.
sounds terrible. Like a terrible lie
 

GordonH

Active Member
The science behind masks is only valid when there is a certain level of community infection. I can't speak for other parts of the country but where I live its 1 in 4000 people who are carrying the virus, based on random testing of the population. Part of the reason why masks were brought in was that people felt they wanted to be doing something and they also wanted to feel safer in order to take part in economic activity. It was a public demand more than a scientific necessity. I am not a scientist but I used to work in a research institute that did virology and I also worked with people with HIV so I know a little bit about how infections are contracted. You can't get infected from exposure to one virus. You have to receive enough of the viruses to overcome your immune system. Everyone has some level of immunity to coronaviruses in general because we have all had flus and colds. If we didn't have some immunity we would all die from flu in the winter. The body can also fight infections using T cells, so if you have a high t cell count you will be able to resist being infected.

The chances of dying from Covid-19 if you are under 70 have been stated by the government as 0.02% which is 10 times the chance of dying in a car accident, but still very low.

It's all a balance of risks really. From my personal perspective if I met 20 people a day it would take 200 days for me to meet someone who had the virus. Even if I met them I would not necessarily catch the virus from them, especially if I was maintaining 1m and washing my hands regularly. Remember, you can only get Covid-19 from someone who is carrying it.

The theory is that asymptomatic carriers spread Covid-19 by breathing on people. Originally it was coughing or sneezing over people, but that became breathing, without any real explanation from science other than those infrared videos of people breathing or sneezing, which don't really tell us very much about infection routes. If I was concerned about transmission from peoples breath I would be wearing a respirator, not a bit of cloth anyway.

What I have found alarming about the mask thing is not the government rules, which are in Scotland that you have to wear a mask in a shop or on public transport, but the general hysteria which means about 60% of people are wearing masks while outside. And that leads us back to music. While the public are being encouraged to believe that they will definitely get the virus if they meet an infected person, nobody is going to go to a concert hall or a theatre. And no orchestra is going to have a brass section, given the recent litigation on the hearing loss issue. Even if there is little science to back it up.

That's how I feel about it anyway. Come October, if we stay on this trajectory, sitting in a band hall playing with a band will be as safe as driving. Thats waht5 the stats suggest, and that's all we can go by.
 
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